Honeyed Apricot Granola Bars

Honeyed Apricot Granola Bars

Honeyed Apricot Granola Bars

So much has happened since we last spoke that I wouldn't know where to begin. I feel as if more than a month has passed, as if I have aged half a dozen years in a few short weeks. Life is a mixture of exhaustion and transition right now, as I adjust to my new beginning. There have been so many changes to my daily life and I haven't had a moment to sort out my feelings about them. In many ways, it feels like I took off running and I am still trying to catch my breath.

Breath in. Breathe out. Breath in.

Honeyed Apricot Granola Bars Honeyed Apricot Granola Bars

This evening, I'm sitting on a new couch in a new apartment, propping my feet up on a new coffee table. The space is smaller than before, built for only one, but somehow it suits me. The view from my window stands in contrast to the old, as different scenery from a different state looks in. I have unpacked my belongings, trying to fit the pieces of my old life into my newβ€”a jigsaw puzzle of memories and unfamiliarity, as the two sets of pieces merge to form a completed image.

The final picture is just beginning to form, the edges in place, but the middle is still muddled, an unclear image of the final product.

Honeyed Apricot Granola Bars

I have been so caught up in these life adjustments, drained of thought or energy, that I haven't opened the oven door in over a month. It feels strange to have abandoned baking for so long, holding it so close to my heart as I do. During a morning rainstorm last weekend, I turned on the oven and tried to rekindle some of the familiarity I had lost in the move. I made granola, a simple comfort food with a touch of character.

The scent of granola wafted through the apartment, erasing the foreign scents and replacing them with something closer to home. For this, I was grateful.

Honeyed Apricot Granola Bars

Honeyed Apricot Granola Bars are filling and wholesome. Dried apricots are plumped up by soaking in black tea and are pureed to form the base of the bars. With honey for sweetness and nuts and dried fruit for interest, the chewy bars make a quick breakfast or snack complete. The bars bake up soft, but hold together well, cutting neatly into pieces.

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Grilled Apricots with Honey Greek Yogurt

Grilled Apricots with Honey Greek Yogurt

Grilled Apricots with Honey Greek Yogurt

Kids are funny little creatures (as I'm sure you know). As a camp counselor, I see the side of children when they are far away from their parentsβ€”a little bit more wild, a little bit more adventurous, and just a little bit more fearless. Diving boards, ticks, and snakes are no longer items of scary dreams, but play things. Kids wear ticks on tape as bracelets, enjoy a good belly flop, and swing snakes like whips above their heads (much to my dismay).

Given the chance, children are also very good at advertising.

On the bus, I often hear boisterous renditions of the many jingles from FreeCreditReport.Com. Even the tune from the Education Connection commercial has made an appearance or two. It's very strange to sit on a bus and have 20 children serenade me with a song I would normally run to mute on my television. Sweet serenade or not, I wish children had a remote.

That isn't too much to ask for, is it?

Grilled Apricots with Honey Greek Yogurt Grilled Apricots with Honey Greek Yogurt

Because children are so susceptible to good advertising, even our traditional camp songs have become muddled with commercialism. The counselors tried to keep the songs pure, innocent, and bias free (we really did), but the voices of 70 children could not be swayed. We sing a song about Fried Ham. Amongst the cheese and bologna, there's a line about "onions, pickles, and pretzels" that the kids have changed to "Funyuns, pickles, and pretzels." Ordinarily I wouldn't mind this except that, because they think they are being "rebellious" by singing their version, they shout it at nearly three times the volume. My ears cry.

We also sing a healthy song all about staying fit and exercising. It ends with a sound offβ€”"Sound off, eat right! Sound off, exercise! Subway, Eat Fresh!"

Did you catch that little ad in there? Kids are sneaky.

Note to those in marketing: The secret to success lies in small children. Come up with a catchy jingle and they will sing it so often their parents ears will bleed. It doesn't matter that they have no idea what a credit report is or won't be a consumer for another decade. Playing to the kids will turn you into a money-making machine.

Grilled Apricots with Honey Greek Yogurt

After a long day of camp songs and commercialism, it's nice to just sit in the peace and quiet of my home, with the television turned off, and enjoy a simple, elegant snack. These Grilled Apricots with Honey Greek Yogurt fit the bill exactly.

The apricots are a snap to grill, spending little over a minute on the coals. The grill warms the flesh while keeping the fruit firm. With a dollop of Greek Yogurt and a drizzle of honey, ripe apricots turn into a little delicious dream. Perfect for breakfast and snacks, these grilled apricots are not only a healthy choice, but a special treat.

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Apple Tart with Almond Cream

Apple Tart with Almond Cream

apple tart with almond cream

I recently had a weekend of back-to-back dinner parties with friends. As everyone knows my favorite meal of the day is dessert, it was no question as to what I would bring. I had a few apples on hand and, after a bit of recipe searching, this tart was born.

apple tart with almond cream

Both a blessing and a curse, I have high standards with myself when it comes to dinner parties. I just can't seem to bake something simple or something that doesn't involve spending 4 continuous hours in the kitchen. I tend to go out of my way to make something complex or decadent, like the pumpkin bread pudding I brought for Thanksgiving. I can't help myself. The wanna-be pastry chef in me aims to impress.

apple tart with almond cream

This apple tart with almond cream is a traditional French tart, also known as a Normandy Apple Tart or, as the French would say, Tarte aux Pommes Γ  la Normande. The almond cream is rich and dominant. The apricot glaze keeps the almond flavor in check and provides a good flavor contrast. And the apples? Well, they are there to look pretty. The flavor of the apples are present, don't get me wrong, but they are subdued in light of the almond and apricot. This tart is really something to experience, with the multiple flavors and textures mixing and mingling in your mouth.

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